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Consumer Reports: Just Stick with Windows 7 For Now

By - Source: Consumer Reports | B 112 comments

Consumers should avoid Windows 8 for now, Consumer Reports claims.

Ouch. Consumer Reports is currently telling the spending public that they're better off not upgrading to Windows 8 for now, and to purchase a desktop or laptop with Windows 7 still installed if shopping for a new rig. The group names numerous reasons as to why consumers should avoid the touchy new OS, including a lack of touchscreen-based systems, quirky performance and more.

"Windows 7 generally received favorable reviews when it was released," Consumer Reports states. "A few years after its 2009 launch, there still haven't been a lot of complaints. If you've been happy with Windows 7 and even Windows XP up until now, there's no compelling reason to switch to Windows 8."

Donna L. Tapellini of Consumer Reports points out that Windows 8 is all about touch, and because there's a lack of touchscreen-based systems on the market, users will be reduced to using their mouse or touchpad. Without a touchscreen, reasons for upgrading from an older version or purchasing a new Windows 8 computer become less compelling, she said.

"Windows 8 doesn't have the familiar Start button for launching programs and shutting the system down," Tapellini adds. "Of course, it's not difficult to launch your applications from the Start screen with the Windows 8 tile interface. But then again, it's also not the same as clicking your Start button and seeing a list of programs. So if you prefer the old way, go with Windows 7."

She goes on to claim that drivers still need updating, that some Windows 8 models are still not performing as well as expected. "The need for vendors to update their Windows 8 drivers could explain the less-than-optimal performance," she added, seemingly backing up a previous report that Microsoft shipped Windows 8 half-baked and that it would catch up via patches post-release.

"You might be better off getting a Windows 7 computer for now, waiting for the dust to settle, and upgrading to Windows 8 later. Although we haven't yet noticed prices dropping on older Windows 7 models yet, there are still some Best Buys in our Ratings," Tapellini said.

One reason why consumers should upgrade to Windows 8 now is the cost, as the OS will be discounted for current Windows customers until the end of February. There are also lots of "under the hood" improvements despite claims of shifty drivers. As Tapellini points out, we're only two months into the release of Windows 8, and there's a lot of dust that needs to settle before the new OS will really shine for most customers.

As we've stressed in previous reports, there's really nothing to fear with Windows 8. Granted Microsoft and CEO Steve Ballmer have done nothing but shove the new interface in the face of every paying customer, the fact is that it can be shoved aside so that users can get back to the desktop they've come to know and love for years. There are small desktop interface changes that may throw many customers off – a lack of a Start menu being the largest hurdle – but eventually the new Windows will be unavoidable.

"If you are getting a touch screen and like the idea of using your computer in some ways that are similar to a tablet, Windows 8 could be for you," Tapellini said. "If you like the notion of "live" tiles that change as new e-mails or social-network updates come in, you'll appreciate the tile interface on Windows 8."

Consumer Reports has more than a dozen recommended laptops and four desktops for those interested in purchasing a new Windows 8 machine, all of which are listed here.

 

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  • 36 Hide
    besplatan , December 19, 2012 1:51 PM
    Wholeheartedly agree with Consumer Reports in this case. I've used every version since the Developer Preview and the entire concept of smartphone UI on a desktop is wrong in a way that can't be fixed.
  • 30 Hide
    killerclick , December 19, 2012 1:43 PM
    Told you so, fanboys. Metro is dead, and not just on the desktop but everywhere.
  • 29 Hide
    rantoc , December 19, 2012 2:00 PM
    The big fail is that you STILL cant default boot into desktop without having to resort to any number or more or less sophisticated hacks... is that how a brand new os is supposed to be?

    1 billion lines of code but MS can't be bothered to add a simple default boot type selector for those that dont want metro on their desktop computers. It only proves how little they care about what the customers want (like in every other ms os...)
Other Comments
  • 30 Hide
    killerclick , December 19, 2012 1:43 PM
    Told you so, fanboys. Metro is dead, and not just on the desktop but everywhere.
  • 36 Hide
    besplatan , December 19, 2012 1:51 PM
    Wholeheartedly agree with Consumer Reports in this case. I've used every version since the Developer Preview and the entire concept of smartphone UI on a desktop is wrong in a way that can't be fixed.
  • 5 Hide
    bdcrlsn , December 19, 2012 1:58 PM
    There's a free program out there called ClassicShell that restores all Win7 functionality to Win8.
  • 29 Hide
    rantoc , December 19, 2012 2:00 PM
    The big fail is that you STILL cant default boot into desktop without having to resort to any number or more or less sophisticated hacks... is that how a brand new os is supposed to be?

    1 billion lines of code but MS can't be bothered to add a simple default boot type selector for those that dont want metro on their desktop computers. It only proves how little they care about what the customers want (like in every other ms os...)
  • 25 Hide
    xaephod , December 19, 2012 2:04 PM
    I used Win8 in beta...and it was bad. Not bad as in "Ohh thats bad!" Which can be a compliment. Its actually "Oh god, that's bad!" which is what you say when you smell a dirty diaper.
  • 28 Hide
    killerclick , December 19, 2012 2:05 PM
    rantoc1 billion lines of code but MS can't be bothered to add a simple default boot type selector for those that dont want metro on their desktop computers.


    This was by design. There was a simple registry hack in the first version that restored the Start Menu completely, but Microsoft actually made an effort to remove it. What they tried to do is force Windows users to use Metro, hoping that would lead them to other Windows devices with the Metro UI (phones, tablets, etc). Plus, Microsoft gets a nice 30% cut from all Metro app sales, so no wonder they were trying to kill the desktop as soon as possible.

    So happy they failed.


    bdcrlsnThere's a free program out there called ClassicShell that restores all Win7 functionality to Win8.


    I've tried every such program I could find, bought Start8 as well, and none of them work properly, all have various annoying issues. Besides, why do that at all? The only thing Windows 8 has over Windows 7 is faster boot time, and that's only noticeable if you use a spinning disk as a boot drive.

  • 5 Hide
    warmon6 , December 19, 2012 2:13 PM
    soo-nah-meeThis is getting ridiculous. There is no reason NOT to switch to Windows 8. Spend the $5 on Start8 by Stardock, and enjoy an updated and improved Windows 7 with the option of using the Start Screen.To basically tell people to buy an outdated system just so it comes with Windows 7 is insane IMO.


    err.... as much as I like windows 8 (the faster start up, a little easier on ram (from what i've seen since DP), I would not say windows 7 is an outdated OS.

    There one major reason for that. the majority of the code inside 8 is from windows 7 (which most of that is from vista).

    Also about the start button, why spend anything when there a free solution. ;) 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acVtWAPq3Y0


    killerclickTold you so, fanboys. Metro is dead.


    What's this metro you speak of. :p  (i know, i know)

    Either way, It's not "dead" completely. Might be on desktops (which still makes no sense) but i'm certain it wont be on tablets.
  • 6 Hide
    kingnoobe , December 19, 2012 2:15 PM
    "but eventually the new Windows will be unavoidable".. Maybe.. When windows 9 comes out.. Since we all know it'll be what windows 8 should've been.

    Like I'm really gonna switch to another windows after what like 3 years.. And for what minor improvements that goes with a headache. No thanks.
  • 7 Hide
    simmons33 , December 19, 2012 2:18 PM
    Ive used Metro on a TABLET and I liked it. Was really cool. Ive used Metro on a DESKTOP and it just didnt make that much sense. I just feel that somewhere in Boot Options , Or Advanced Features should be the choice to have a Windows 7ish Experience. I would still use "Metro Apps", I just dont want the whole forground interface.

    Seems like a simple solution that would cause Microsoft to not recieve as much flak as their getting but w/e

    The ONLY things that would make switching to Windows 8 useful would be

    1 DX13
    2 128 Bit

    Both of which I dont see happening or becomeing "Mainstream" in the next 3-5 years
  • -4 Hide
    killerclick , December 19, 2012 2:19 PM
    warmon6What's this metro you speak of. (i know, i know)Either way, It's not "dead" completely. Might be on desktops (which still makes no sense) but i'm certain it wont be on tablets.


    Which tablets? Windows tablets are an even bigger disaster (market wise) than WP7 was. The jury is still out on WP8, but there are indicators that suggest they're not selling well either.
  • 2 Hide
    atikkur , December 19, 2012 2:32 PM
    yes yes yes.. so thank if metro failed. they should treat metro app as "compatibilty" in desktop ui... not as primary.
  • -6 Hide
    Anonymous , December 19, 2012 2:35 PM
    Their whole model has to change. Two months is an eternity in these mobile times.

    I use Windows 8 without any issues, but have learned to avoid the 'Windows 8 Store Style' app environment. Which is a failure for MS. Yes, the legacy desktop is improved (slightly) and it's miles ahead of my old Vista, but what is MS doing if people avoid their new stuff? And I personally had no problem with the new environment, but it's a wasteland.

    It absolutely must be said that Windows XP is NOT secure and should not be used. That was borderline criminal advice.
  • -6 Hide
    treat2day , December 19, 2012 2:43 PM
    Classic Shell has made my customers very happy after I installed it on Windows 8. I have novice users who barely understand the email can be accessed in other places outside of their home unit. These are educated people and Windows 8 has made it easier. They do not need to go looking for programs. Programs are easily found using the "mouse" and metro pops up with a window with all their choices and not in a cluttered program hierarchy tree. As a tech support person, Windows 8 has taken the nightmare out of my customer throwing money away hiring me because they ignore updates and computer freeze from months of not doing Microsoft updates.

    I am a long term subscriber of Consumer Reports but everything they write isn't the Gospel. But like an earlier comment mentioned, get less for more money, ruin the planet even more tossing gadgets for the next version.

    Do people realized that R&D takes many years and most likely has been done when Apples genius marketing toss you bits of it each year?

    What Apples does well isn't worth the price tag if the planet suffers due to consumerism and not educating the public on how to recycle or even sell their nearly new and old gadgets to online Web sites offering to buy and even damaged goods. I get free money from all those I service that will not bother using self adhesive stamps for a rebate or recycle old gadgets and laptops for money.
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